Right after winning the AAA tag team titles from AEW wrestlers FTR at Night of Champions in Mexico last night, Dragon Lee made the shocking announcement that he signed a WWE contract. The lucha libre standout is now on his way to NXT.
On Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer talked about the timing of the deal:
“The deal was made a couple weeks ago but they were told to keep it quiet. And they wanted to make the announcement after they won the tag team titles. Which is a very interesting thing because he pinned an AEW star. And that was part of the deal. I mean, Tony Khan was aware of it. I’m sure that if this was reversed, that that never would have happened.”
Meltzer went on to explain that Lee ideally wanted to work in NJPW, but that was no longer an option after Dragon Lee’s falling out with CMLL a few years ago. The complicated political situation between NJPW, CMLL, and AAA left Lee working in Mexico where there isn’t a lot of money to be made.
A move to the United States made sense for Dragon, and both WWE and AEW were interested in signing him. Lee ultimately chose to go to WWE, but he won’t be making big money there because it’s not a main roster deal:
“Him and Dralistico had a tryout with WWE. And they wanted him. AEW wanted him as well...it’s a bigger money deal than Mexico, but it is not any kind of a big money deal. He’s getting NXT money, he’s not getting main roster money.”
Dragon probably could have gotten more money on a deal from AEW, but it may have been hard to get consistent TV time there given the their loaded roster. The higher likelihood of a push in NXT is one factor that made it a more attractive place for him to sign:
“...so he could make a little bit more money [in AEW] and probably not wrestle a lot, or he could go to NXT. He is a super talented guy, and he could be a focal point over there.”
“In NXT is probably, for right now, for him as far as being able to wrestle, being able to get a push and things like that, it is the best place for him in the United States right now, and it’s the place that he chose.”
Meltzer wrapped it up by claiming that WWE’s interest in signing Lee was heavily driven by his match in AEW a few months ago:
“WWE’s interest in Dragon Lee came when they found out that AEW put this guy on television with no contract. So it was kind of like, we can swoop in....that was the catalyst of it, was them finding out that AEW had put a guy on television with no deal.”
Do you think Dragon Lee made the right choice in signing with WWE, Cagesiders?